For our Japanese snack loving TokyoTreat subscribers visiting Japan is on many of your bucket lists we've been told! And whether you're just visiting Japan or planning to stay for longer, the Japanese convenience store will be a godsend. What's so special about a convenience store you may ask? Forget your preconceived notions of your home countries convenience stores because they have nothing on Japan's! From isles filled with delicious Japanese snacks and candy, to delicious meals, to paying your bills and buying concert tickets, you can do anything there! And if you're travelling on a budget, the meals you can get there are delicious and cheap!
So what are some important words and phrases you may need to know for your convenience store trip?
1. Conbini (コンビニ) – Now of course you'll need to know what the Japanese word for convenience store is, and thats "conbini"! Taken from the English word and shortened (as Japan loves to do) it's an easy word to remember. If you want to make things more complicated you could memorise the phrase "conbini wa doko desu ka?" meaning "Where's the convenience store?" Usually Japanese people are kind enough to string together what English they do know to give you a reply, or will take time out of their busy lives to guide you there if they're feeling particularly kind.
2. Atatamemasuka? (温めますか？) – So you've managed to find a conbini (which to be fair isn't difficult unless you're out in the sticks) and you've made your choice of dinner for the evening, a ready made meal aka conbini bento. So you take this to the cashier and they ask "Atatamemasuka?" meaning "Would you like this heated?" Now, unless you're a heathen and enjoy your dinner cold, you should say hai (yes), unless of course you intend to heat it up yourself later at your dwelling of choice then a simple iie (no) will suffice. Wait!! The cashier has forgotten to ask you whether you want it heated or not and you haven't got a microwave!! What should you do?! Fear not, just use to phrase "Atatamete kudasai." to ask for it to be heated.
3. Kore o kudasai (これを下さい) – Or if you're not feeling the chilled bentos, then by the register there's always a load of hot food ranging from fried chicken to potato croquette, but how do you ask for these? If you can't read the names of these hot goods, then its as simple as pointing to the item and saying "Kore o kudasai" meaning "This please!" If you want to be fancy you can even add numbers into the mix "hitotsu" being one, "futatsu" being two, so "Kore o futatsu kudasai" or "Two of these please!" Sorted.
4. Fukuro o wakeshimasuka? (袋を分けしますか？) – Now if you're buying some hot food and some room temperature or chilled goods at the same time the conbini staff may ask "Fukuro o wakeshimasuka?" meaning "Do you want these in separate bags?" and it's as simple as answering hai if you want them separate and iie if you don't. Japan being the country that loves to wrap plastic in plastic in plastic, don't be surprised at their eagerness to dish out plastic bags like no tomorrow when other countries charge money for them or use paper bags. Although if you're buying hot food and an ice cream at the same time don't be surprised if you get funny looks if you say you want them in the same bag.
5. Arigatou gozaimasu (有難うございます) – Don't forget your manners, make sure to say thank you "arigatou gozaimasu" at the end of your interaction, even if you can't say much else a pleasant thank you is always welcome.
Did you find this blog helpful? Will you be using these words and phrases when you visit Japan? Let us know in the comments!
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